Former Celtic defender backs 19-caps Scotland international to fire Celtic to the title

Former Celtic defender John Hughes says that Leigh Griffiths can fire his old club to the Premiership title, and he can be the striker that Neil Lennon’s team are crying for.

The former Scotland international, who was signed to Celtic as a youth player at Falkirk, has found his way back to the first-team fold in the last few weeks after a lengthy period on the sidelines with mental health issues and more recently, injury problems.

In his absence, the Hoops head-coach Lennon has been forced to rely heavily on Odsonne Edouard, and the club are in talks to sign Slovan Bratislava forward Andraz Sporar to bolster their attacking options, according to reports.

Hughes fully expects his former side to bring in new bodies during this ongoing transfer window, but he says the answer to Celtic’s lack of depth up front is already on their books, backing the 19-caps Scotland international to return from the winter break ready to help Edouard share the burden of leading the line.

He said:

“I’m always worried about Griff with that calf problem and maybe Celtic do need to bring in another striker.

“He has had his problems, I’ve played with guys who have their problems. It’s always the same, when they are on the pitch they feel safe, no one can touch them and they are doing something they love.

“It was great to see Griff getting back on the pitch and I hope he can get back to full fitness.

“Three or four years ago he scored 40 goals and you think he’ll do that every season, but it doesn’t happen like that.

“But if Griff can get himself back fit and back to that level then Celtic wouldn’t need another striker. He’s the answer, but he needs to get himself fit and injury free.

“He’s suffered with the calf problem for a number of years but if he can get himself fit then he can shoot Celtic to the title.

“It’s getting back to the standards he set himself, look at the goals he scored against England.

“I would never give up on Griff because he has that talent. He’s a goalscorer and he’ll never lose it.

“But I very much doubt he’ll get back to that 40-goals a season level because of the injury problems he’s had.

“For that reason I still think Celtic will bring in one or two to take them to where they want to go.”

Celtic would not be returning to action until 18th January – when they play Partick Thistle before their Premiership meeting with Kilmarnock at Rugby Park four days after.

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